LAEDC Issues Letter in Support of NBCUniversal Evolution Plan

By February 15, 2013 No Comments

February 8, 2013

Mr. David W. Louie, Chair
Members of the Regional Planning Commission
Hall of Records
320 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Re: NBCUniversal Evolution Plan: Project Number TR068565-(3) – SUPPORT

Dear Chair Louie and Planning Commissioners:

On behalf of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), an organization dedicated to promoting job growth, economic expansion and preserving the overall global competitiveness of Los Angeles County, I am writing to express our strong support for the NBCUniversal Evolution Plan (the “Evolution Plan”). We believe that the Evolution Plan creates new and innovative private sector solutions for transportation and transit improvements as well as environmental stewardship, while also supporting tens of thousands of much-needed construction jobs and promoting two of Los Angeles County’s most important industry clusters: hospitality and tourism, which supports more than 360,000 jobs in L.A. County; and entertainment, which supports more than 160,000 high-value jobs in the County.

The Evolution Plan sets out a 20-year blueprint for NBCUniversal’s 391-acre Universal City property. The project will include a number of new attractions at the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, tens of thousands of new square feet of retail and dining options, and two 500-room hotels. The plan also includes about $100 million in mobility, congestion-relief and environmental improvements achieved through enhanced connectivity to a number of intermodal transit options along with other transportation demand management and environmental impact mitigation measures.

In addition to the improved transportation, transit and environmentally-beneficial aspects of this project, the economic and job creation potential benefits for Los Angeles County are also considerable. NBCUniversal estimates that the proposed Evolution Plan would create more than 30,000 high-wage jobs during construction and operations. Additionally, the project’s new attractions, destination spots and recreational options will not only enhance the economic impacts around the Universal City facility, but they will significantly stimulate our entire region’s hospitality and tourism industry as substantially more visitors from around the United States and the world visit the Los Angeles region to take in these exciting new additions.

The Evolution Plan will also add much-needed production capacity and studio spaces, demonstrating NBCUniversal’s commitment to investing in the entertainment business here in
Southern California at a time when our world-leading film and television production sector faces an existential threat from other states and nations actively pursuing, enticing, and poaching these productions out of our own backyard – and with them, many billions of dollars in lost economic activity, wages, local spending and tax revenue as well. Right now, there is great demand and need for additional production, studio and soundstage spaces, which during peak production periods can have vacancies near one percent.

As a result, we must encourage long-term investments in studio infrastructure by building and/or upgrading production facilities to support and strengthen Los Angeles County’s overall entertainment industry. It is our view that only by approving and accelerating the development and delivery of critical entertainment infrastructure projects such as the NBCUniversal Evolution Plan – along with other film-friendly initiatives – can we effectively combat, slow, and hopefully reverse the flight of film and television productions out of Los Angeles County and California.

We hope that you will adequately consider all of the above when assessing the bona fides of the Evolution Plan as well as other similarly critical development projects that can help position and prepare L.A. County for economic recovery, growth, and long-term success. We look forward to working with you to ensure that this project is approved, built, and fully operational as quickly as possible to create much-need construction and entertainment-related jobs, grow our local, county and regional economies, and strengthen our region’s leading employment clusters and thus the overall quality of life for all our residents.

For all of these reasons, the LAEDC strongly supports the NBCUniversal Evolution Plan.

William C. Allen
President & CEO

cc: Hon. Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Chairman
Hon. Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Los Angeles City Mayor
Hon. Tom LaBonge, Los Angeles City Councilman, Fourth District
Mr. Richard Bruckner, Planning Director, Los Angeles County
Ms. Corinne Verdery, NBCUniversal

To download a full copy of this letter, go here.